Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, November 20, 2011, pg. 31

May you and your family experience a happy Thanksgiving this coming Thursday. How about having a copy of one of my Albion history books on hand for your relatives to read while they are waiting for dinner? Both "Growing Up in Albion" and "Albion in Review" are available at the Albion Chamber of Commerce.

A few weeks ago I saw someone driving an electric car, the Chevy Volt, in Albion. Thatís the first one I've ever seen. Imagine how it was 100 years ago when the first automobiles (horseless carriages) came to town. In 1910, there were only 13 automobiles here in Albion, and three of those were the old "steamer" variety. That same year Harry Richards, Sr. (1885-1959) and his brother-in-law Arthur G. Noble (1880-1965) purchased the garage business of Charles Groff and William Forman at 118 E. Michigan Avenue.

The firm was called the Albion Garage. A July, 1911 advertisement in the Albion Evening Recorder boasted that they had established an auto livery. The charge for "cab" service was 50 cents an hour for a party of four. They also sold E.M.F. Flanders, and Brush automobiles at this location for four years. In 1914 the duo added partners, and the Albion Garage Sales Agency was formed. The Garage then moved across the street and built a new building at 302 N. Superior St., present-day site of the Citgo gas station.

The original site was purchased by William Bemer (Albion Mayor after whom Bemer St. is named) who operated his auto garage (Bemer Garage) and sales there during the 1920s. During the 1930s and 1940s part of the building housed our local taxi service and union bus depot. Albion Machine & Tool Company was located here in the 1930s through 1950s.

From our Historical Notebook this week, courtesy of Tom Richards, is a rare 1912 photo of that first Albion Garage auto dealership at 118 E. Michigan Avenue. The signs state, "Albion Garage. Gasoline. Goodrich Tires, Best in the Long Run. There is a tourist car in front, with the signs stating, "Ocean to Ocean, San Francisco, New York." Apparently they were on a trip across America and decided to stop in Albion.

1912 Albion Garage auto dealership at 118 E. Michigan Avenue


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